Thursday, September 8, 2016
Did you see the movie, “The Planet of the Apes”? If so, do you remember what the main character found when he made his way to where other humans were? They were worshiping the Bible! Far fetched? Not really.
When Israel made their exodus from Egypt, their evil actions brought deadly serpents upon them causing them to cry out for help. Moses was told to make a bronze pole with a serpent on it. If bitten, a person could look upon this brass creation and be saved (Numbers 21:4-9). Have you ever wondered what happened to that brass pole with its metal snake? About 730 years later it was being worshiped by the offspring of those it once saved (2 Kings 18:1, 4).
Ignorance often flows through our human veins! Something created for a noble purpose, in our possession, has the possibility of evolving into something evil. As a teenager, I heard folks elevate the King James Bible as if Paul carried it in his hip pocket. Is so, wouldn’t Paul need blue jeans rather than a robe?
In the fifties the American Standard Version was being accepted by some because the New Testament was closer to the original Greek than the KJV. Yet, if one quoted from it rather than the King James, he was accused of incorrectly quoting the actual WORD of God! Some thought the King James was the divine standard to judge the soundness of all other translations. Preachers thought nothing of reading a passage in the KJV and spending time explaining its shortcomings to his audience. If he pointed out a word which was mistranslated or added to the inspired text, it was done without being negative. Yet, when reviewing a newer translation, those same discovered points were used as indictments to prove it was a corrupt, untrustworthy translation! If you read from one, you were immediately suspected of being disloyal to God’s word!
One author wrote a voluminous book to expose the errors of the Revised Standard Version. His standard of correctness was the King James. The author fully accepted the American Standard Version not only as an equal to the King James, but superior in the translation of the Greek. Yet, his criticisms of the RSV also condemned the ASV since the majority of passages introduced were identical. Apparently he never recognized his inconsistency.
Through the eighties some bemoaned the fact that if one left the KJV, reverence would be lost by addressing God as “you” rather than the solemn and reverential “thee” and “thou.” If one wishes to continue using the King James Version as his standard Bible, that is his right (Romans 14). However, to bind upon others what originated in 1611 is little more than man made tradition (Matthew 15:9). For either side to feel superior to the other because of their choice is absurd. Some were concerned that the songs of the past four hundred years would not make sense if the “thee” and “thou” were replaced with “you” and “your.” Just because we continue to sing songs with archaic words does not demand we continue to use the KJV to please God. Spirituality nor reverence were lost when we started using modern expressions rather than the King James vocabulary. We went through a growth period during those decades and everyone survived regardless of choice.
Today, I occasionally quote from the KJV. I read from the International English Bible in our family devotionals. I often use the ASV, NASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NIV, TLB, NLB, ESV, and NKJV translations in my articles. Computers have put all of those versions and more only a few key clicks away. Each person has a right to use the version he prefers. Even though I may prefer one translation over another, none of them have become my “Nehushtan” (2 Kings 18:4)!